Pierce Transit sets state precedent for safety

Pierce Transit has become the first public transportation agency in the state to grant a general police commissioning to its public safety officer, according to a statement released March 20 by the Lakewood-based transportation agency.

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, as well as senior law enforcement officials and representatives of area police departments, attended a swearing-in ceremony for Rod Baker, Transit Public Safety Manager, who recited the Oath of Commissioning administered by Don S. Monroe, Chief Executive Officer of Pierce Transit.

“The law enforcement commissioning of the Pierce Transit Public Safety Manager will enhance the security services that Pierce Transit provides to our passengers and employees,” said Monroe.  “We value the cooperation and support we receive from the law enforcement community.” 

“Maintaining a safe transit environment depends on the active involvement and collaboration of transit employees, law enforcement, passengers, neighborhood residents, and the public at large,” said McKenna.  “As the ‘eyes and ears’ of our transit system, they all play a vital role in bolstering transit security by becoming more aware of the surroundings and reporting suspicious activities to the proper authorities.”

The primary responsibility of the Public Safety Division is the deterrence, detection, and apprehension of individuals that commit criminal acts within the transit system.  The full police commissioning of the transit public safety manager will improve interagency communications and cooperation and will provide Pierce Transit with the ability to interact with any of the 34 law enforcement jurisdictions within its 450 square mile service area.  This will allow Pierce Transit to obtain information surrounding criminal incidents and to conduct a higher level of background investigations and screenings consistent with state requirements for law enforcement personnel.